Celiac Disease - Treatment

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Last Updated on Jan 04, 2017
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Treatment of Celiac Disease

In the absence of treatment, people with celiac disease could go on to develop complications such as osteoporosis, anemia, and cancer.

A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for patients with Celiac Disease. Once patients shift to a Gluten-free diet, the symptoms of the disease gradually reduce. The intestine begins to heal with no further damage to the intestine.

A gluten-free diet would mean complete abstinence from foods containing wheat, rye, and barley. What this essentially means is that, victims of celiac disease should give-up processed foods, pasta, and cereals containing gluten. Instead of wheat flour, Celiac Disease patients can opt for bran flour.

Remember while grains contain gluten, so do some types of oats. So they are best avoided. Instead of grains, rice and its products can be a good alternative. Similarly fruits and vegetables do not contain any gluten. Non-vegetarians can also opt for meat and fish.

Gluten-free bread and pasta can be purchased from food stores. A dietician is equipped to make a Gluten-free diet plan and advice patients to recognize ingredients in foods so that they do not make the mistake of consuming edibles with gluten.

Remember that some medications also contain gluten. The services of pharmacists can be sought to verify the content of the medicines. Gluten is also used as an additive in some products such as in lipstick, therefore one must make it a point to read the product labels before purchasing cosmetic products.

People suffering celiac disease must abstain from foods containing gluten lifelong. It is to be remembered that even consuming a small quantity of gluten can damage the small intestine.

In rare cases the disease still continues despite a gluten-free diet. Sometimes the victims’ intestines are so badly damaged, a condition named as Refractory Celiac Disease where patients may need to be administered nutrients intravenously.

The American Dietetic Association in 2006 updated its recommendations for a gluten-free diet. The list is far from complete but is a starting point for people suffering from this condition. It is best to read the labels yourself and ensure that the food is free from gluten before a purchase.

Allowed Foods
Amaranth
Arrowroot
Buckwheat
Cassava
Corn
Flax
Indian rice grass
Job’s tears
Legumes
Millet
Nuts
Potatoes
Quinoa
Rice
Sago
Seeds
Sorghum
Soy
Tapioca
Teff
Wild rice
Yucca
Foods To Avoid
Wheat

 including einkorn, emmer, spelt, kamut
 wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat, hydrolyzed wheat protein
Barley
Rye
Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Other Wheat Products
Bromated flour
Durum flour
Enriched flour
Farina
Graham flour
Phosphated flour
Plain flour
Self-rising flour
Semolina
White flour
Processed Foods that May Contain Wheat, Barley,or Rye*
Bouillon cubes
Brown rice syrup
Candy
chips/potato chips
Cold cuts, hot dogs, salami, sausage
Communion wafers
French fries
Gravy
Imitation fish
Matzo
Rice mixes
Sauces
Seasoned tortilla chips
Self-basting turkey
Soups
Soy sauce
Vegetables in sauce

* Most of these foods can be found gluten-free. When in doubt, check with the food manufacturer or your physician or dietician.

Source: Thompson T. Celiac Disease Nutrition Guide, 2nd ed. Chicago: American Dietetic Association; 2006. © American Dietetic

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Screening for celiac is routinely done among Americans. In a study by Joseph Murray it was suggested that the present generation has 4.5 times moré chances of having Celiac Disease.

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